The line between Liverpool and St Helens has reopened yesterday (14 July) after a nine-day closure to improve the railway in the north west of England.
Network Rail installed a new third track in the Huyton and Roby area to help increase capacity and allow faster journeys between Liverpool and Manchester as part of the £1bn+ Northern Hub and North West Electrification Programme.
Other improvements included new signalling and upgrades to Huyton and Roby stations such as better customer information systems, new lifts and easier access via subways.
Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “This is the latest phase of more than £1bn of investment in the railway in the north of England and will help to provide better services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and the north east of England.
“The improvements will deliver faster and more reliable journeys, more seats and extra capacity, all of which are vital to the continued growth of the railway and the positive impact it has on the economy.
“The work was carefully planned so the closure was for the shortest amount of time possible and I thank every one affected for their patience.”
Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, said: “We would like to thank our customers for their patience during the recent upgrade work. Services between Liverpool, Manchester and Wigan will be running as normal from Monday and the improvements can be easily seen by those travelling on the route. This investment demonstrates another move towards more reliable, faster and greener journeys for our customers.”
Chris Nutton, programme director for TransPennine Express, said: “It is great news for customers that FTPE’s fast service between Liverpool and Manchester has been restored on time and on schedule. The improvement works will represent greater service reliability for customers and the way the programme was managed is a great example of train operators and Network Rail working together. We have all worked hard to inform customers of what is happening and why and importantly we have provided travel alternatives to enable passengers to continue their journey in a stress free and easy manner as possible.”
Passengers are already seeing the benefits of investment in the railway in the north west of England. From May 2014, a new direct service from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool was introduced which takes just 33 minutes between the two cities, a 10 minute journey time reduction overall.
Further work will take place on the railway to complete the final phase of electrification of the route between Manchester and Liverpool before electric trains begin to operate from December 2014.